Humble Bundle of ebooks benefits charities

Charity fundraiser lets you pay what you want for a bundle of six independently published novels.


Lauren Rae Orsini


Published Oct 10, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 9:41 am CDT

First, it was indie video games. Next came music. And now, the Humble Bundle has expanded its reach to ebooks.

Launched in 2010, the Humble Bundle’s mission is to promote independent creators while making a hefty buck for charity at the same time. Buyers name their price for a bundle of games (or music, or books), and choose how much of their money goes to creators and how much goes to participating charities.

In the ebook iteration, buyers can purchase a package of six independently published books: Invasion by Mercedes Lackey, Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, Pump Six by Paolo Bacigalupi, Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow, and two books by Kelly Link, Stranger Things Happen and Magic for Beginners. The books are available in most ereader formats.

For buyers who contribute more than the average donation price, Humble Bundle will throw in two more books: Old Man’s War by John Scalzi and graphic novel Signal to Noise by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. Right now, the average donation is $11.54.

Fittingly, the charities Humble Bundle has selected for this round both have to do with writing and online publishing—the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, as well as Humble Bundle staple Child’s Play. Buyers can choose to give to just one charity, two, or all three.

In order to heat up the competition and encourage buyers to support authors and charities, the Humble Bundle has set up a leaderboard on the page. Actor and writer Wil Wheaton occupies three of the top five positions.

Humble Bundle estimates the total cost of the books in the bundle to be “around $52,” but some philanthropists have gone far above and beyond. As of this writing, the top contributor is Jacobo Tarrio, who paid $242.42.

“I have just spent a stupid amount of money in books,” he tweeted. “But, hey, at least now I have enough reading material for the next 2 or 3 weeks :-)”

In less than a day, more than 15,000 people have purchased the bundle, contributing more than $180,100. The ebook bundle hasn’t yet surpassed this summer’s music bundle, but there are still 14 days to go.

Photo via Humble Bundle

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*First Published: Oct 10, 2012, 9:10 am CDT